Asking questions in the world of business or everyday life is key to reaching a common understanding. This blog will outline seven tips that can help you ask better questions.
Plan Your Question
Before a meeting, interview, or phone call, be sure to outline your goals and objectives for what you want to accomplish with your questions. Anticipate the answers to your questions and prepare a set of follow up questions to further conversation.
Having a Purpose
Don’t just ask questions for the sake of asking a question. Every question you ask should help you either gather facts or someone’s opinion. Depending on if you are seeking a fact or an opinion will depend on your audience and the situation.
Have a Conversation
Unlike simple yes-or-no questions, open-ended questions invite the respondent to talk. Allowing someone to simply talk, rather than answering with a short yes-or-no, allows for an exchange of more information and detail.
Using Neutral Wording
Avoid using words and phrases that may influence the respondent’s answers. Do not ask “how much do you love our amenities in the conference room”? But rather, ask “how did you like the conference room”? Using neutral wording allows the respondent to formulate their own unbiased response.
One Thing at a Time
Avoid making questions too complex with multiple parts to them. It is best to ask short questions that cover a single point. If you want to learn about two different things, then ask two different questions.
Follow General Questions with Specific Ones
Build a hierarchy of questions that begins with the big picture and gradually become more specific as you ask more follow-up questions.
The number one rule about asking a question is to not interrupt. It is best to let the person fully respond to your question before making a comment or asking a follow-up question. It is not only the best way to get the most information, but it is also the polite thing to do.